Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Odd Sounds and Spectres Continue at Connecticut Library

courant - Odd things are happening at the Deep River Public Library.

Staff member Pam Ziobron was working by herself late one Saturday. She had shut off all the lights except for the one at the circulation desk, where she was standing, when she had a strong sense that she wasn't alone.

"It was just a feeling. ... It was just so light and airy, like a female coming down the stairs. It was very, very real," Ziobron said.

Since 2004, ghost hunters and mediums have spent time in the Main Street library to investigate these strange occurrences in what was the home of a prominent Deep River man 100 years ago. Another paranormal investigation agency will try to capture what library employees have been feeling and hearing for years. Full Spectrum Ghost Hunters of Plainville plans to conduct a paranormal investigation May 8.

Of the previous mediums and ghost hunters, some have concurred that they've also felt the presence of ghosts. Others have been able to capture more information.

Ghost hunter John Zaffis, nephew of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, approached the Main Street library in 2004 about conducting an investigation. He felt the presence of two females, one in her teens and one in her 50s, in the library reference area that used to be the residence's kitchen. The original wood-burning stove that was manufactured in 1877 by Fuller, Warren & Co., in Troy, N.Y., is still there. According to the Valley Courier newspaper, Connecticut Paranormal Research & Investigators of East Haven captured a spirit in photos two years ago.

Susan Oehl, the library's assistant director, was eating her lunch and was the only person on the upper level when she heard a sound in the next room.

"I heard distinctly a woman clearing her throat," Oehl recently recalled. When she went to check, no one was there.

The possibility of ghosts has contributed to the lure of the library and of Deep River's quaint Main Street, said Ann Paietta, the library's director. The house was built in 1881 by Richard Pratt Spencer, who owned a manufacturing company that dealt with the ivory trade, served as treasurer and president of the Deep River National Bank and was a state senator.

He lived in the house, until his death in 1910, with his second wife and their three children. The house was built with the Deep River in its backyard and now faces the many shops, banks and restaurants that line the main road.

The library association bought the house in 1930 and, although a few additions have been made, the building is mainly an original, including the damp basement's exposed brick and fieldstone, stained-glass windows and wood moldings.

The ghosts have appeared only in the old parts of the building, Paietta said.

"This is the area where people love," she said, standing in the attic. "They feel, sense things."

Michael Dionne, founder of Full Spectrum Ghost Hunters, said that about 1 percent of the cases he investigates are paranormal. One way to detect ghosts is by gauging the electromagnetic fields in the room, but everyday items, such as electronic gadgets and rainstorms, can create electromagnetic fields, he said.

"If you're sensitive to the electromagnetic fields, you can get anything from skin irritations, nausea, paranoia, hallucinations," Dionne said.

He and his group of paranormal investigators will set up electromagnetic-field detectors throughout the library and — accounting for electrical boxes on the property, the weather and other factors — will read the detectors to determine if there are electromagnetic fields in the building.

"If I'm in the middle of a hallway and there's [a zero reading] on my walk through and later in the night it's at a 40 or 50 [reading] and there's nothing on, that basically tells you there's something that's just unexplainable," Dionne said.

After the walk-through, the group will listen to recordings and see if any inexplicable sounds were picked up.

Paietta said the library has more going for it than the rumors of a ghost, but, she added, "It's fun. It enhances the library."


Connecticut Paranormal Research Society - If you have been quietly reading at the Deep River Public Library and thought you heard noises in the attic or saw something move in the corner of your eye, you are not alone.

Library Director Ann Paietta said that patrons and her colleagues claim they heard noises from the upper levels and saw something whisk by them.

Paietta confirmed that the historic building has an attic and second level, both of which are closed to the public since they do not meet ADA accessibility requirements.

Some have attributed these noises to spirits who live in the library.

Paietta invited the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society, CPRS, and its sister group, the Connecticut Ghost Hunters of Shoreline Towns, CGHOST, to give a presentation at the library back in December.

Over sixty residents from surrounding towns attended the event.

Even before hearing from Paietta, Pamela Ryder, paracounselor and public relations spokesperson for CPRS, sensed spirits when she was in the building.

Paietta gave Ryder permission to come back to do an investigation to uncover the truth behind the mysterious noises and sights.

On March 8, Paietta said representatives from CPRS took particular interest to possible activities on the building's second floor and attic.

While Paietta wanted to invite the public, CPRS representatives requested the event be conducted behind closed doors to eliminate potential interference.

Eight investigators used a variety of equipment, including video cameras, an Electronic Voice Phenomena recorder, infrared red cameras, and digital cameras, to measure conditions during the four hours they were in the building.

"Activity peaked when we first started our investigation as if it was attracted to what we were doing but after one to two hours, it moved away," Ryder said.

Investigators heard the sound of someone walking upstairs even though everyone was quiet during the investigation.

"The psychic had sensed there was a gentleman in the attic," Ryder said, adding that she is unsure whether the gentleman is the spirit of one of the Spencers or of the XYZ robber.

Richard Spencer constructed the building at the corner of Main and Village Streets in 1881 and his family was particularly attached to the elegant home until it was converted into a library in 1933.

The XYZ robber was killed on Dec. 13, 1899 when he attempted to rob the Deep River Savings Bank, at 141 Main Street.

Bank officials were tipped off on the robbery and hired Captain Harry Tyler who shot XYZ with a Winchester rifle as he tried to break one of the bank's windows.

Tyler received an anonymous letter requesting that the man be buried under a headstone marked XYZ in an attempt to preserve his anonymity and to continue the tradition of marking headstones with three initials.

Tyler was buried at the Fountain Hill Cemetery and his identity is still unknown to this day.

News articles and the rifle are on display in the bank, now known as Citizen's Bank.

Ryder said there have been no documented deaths in the building and while spirits may reside there, she emphasized that they are not evil and do not pose a threat.

Ryder hopes to have final conclusions of the investigation by the end of March.

She plans to give Paietta a complete analysis on disk and plans to give a seminar in May, which will be open to the public, to present findings.

Odd Sounds and Spectres Continue at Connecticut Library
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